Lack of teachers is not the problem, says A P Singh, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Rajasthan. In conversation with Elets News Network, he says good and motivated teachers are what universities lack today
Teaching in universities is examination oriented where you memorise things and reproduce them in the examination. It has no relevance to the need of the society/industry. Practical application of the knowledge gained is missing. The challenge is to create job-oriented courses and full weightage should be given to such courses and they should be recognised. For example, a course such as “Master in Car Manufacture” should be created where the student learns all relevant material dealing with manufacturing, marketing, technical skills, hands on with the industry etc., so that he is immediately absorbed in the manufacturing sector and does not have to wait for any training at a later stage.
What are the new initiatives which you have taken as the VC? Can you suggest if any of them can be implemented at pan-India level?
While the teaching faculty is required to teach and guide students and not get involved with administration work, the work of administration is to facilitate the teachers to work and not create hurdles. There should be complete coordination between academic and administration. A nodal committee consisting of members from academic and administration should be formed and meet regularly to set out any bone of contention.
An increase in our gross enrollment ratio calls for substantial investment and a paradigm shift in our education policy. How do you see it?
Education is the key to the success of a country. Increase of gross enrollment number from 18 per cent to 30 per cent is a welcome step. Of course, there are going to be several problems in getting good faculty as well as the financial constraints. However, these should not deter us. Freedom and incentive should be given to teachers to move from one university to another to overcome the difficulty till we are self-sufficient.
Poor faculty and lack of teachers seem to mar Indian education at all levels. How do you plan to address this challenge at your university?
Lack of teachers is not the problem. Good and motivated teachers are what we lack. For this, the selection at the very beginning has to be stringent as one wrong selection has to be tolerated for the next 30 to 35 years. They also give a bad influence to the next generation. After selection, the faculty should be given a free hand to experiment with their ideas and also be accountable and well monitored. Their pay should be lucrative and at the same time, they should be accountable.
There is a concerted push from the government towards ‘Digital India’. Are educational institutes geared up to take it on?
‘Digital India’ is the need of the day and the earlier we accept it, the better it would be. I do agree it is going to be difficult, but that should not deter us, as the best of a person comes only when he faces challenges.
Innovation and research by universities drive industries and economic growth in many South East Asian economies. How is your university engaging industries?
Innovation and research are part and parcel of a university. Many universities have collaborations; MoUs signed with industries and have consultancy services. Our university (Central University of Rajasthan) is just five years old. We have signed MoUs with several universities and the industry. We have facilitated entrepreneurs.
How well are universities geared up to address the mismatch between industry demands and students’ skills?
Skill development is missing from our curriculum and I fully support that a lot has to be done in this direction.